Right by the Adriatic Sea and at a short distance from Le Marche countryside stands the city of Fano, a very popular seaside resort and important fishing port, which became famous due to its Carnival, one of the oldest one in Italy. History, art and natural beauty enrich this territory, which is a perfect place to spend holidays with the family and friends, also thanks to its proximity to the major towns and attractions of Le Marche and Emilia Romagna region, which can be easily reached with a short drive by car.
Fano truly offers lots of places to visit and events not to be missed, let’s find them out together!
Historical and art tours in the city
The glorious historical past of the city is still evident and rich in evidences from different eras, which come together in a perfect mix. Let’s start with the remains of the Roman Fano visiting the imposing Arch of Augustus, which still represents the welcoming door for visitors. Continuing the walk you’ll find the Augustan walls, ordered by the Emperor Augustus and which are still well-preserved for about two-thirds of the original path. Of great interest is the archaeological area under the Church and Convent of S. Agostino, where large wall structures have been found. Many findings from this period are preserved in the archaeological section of the Museum in the Malatesta Palace. To the Medieval-Malatesta period belongs the city Cathedral, located in Via Arco d’Augusto and rebuilt in 1140 after a devastating fire; Palazzo del Podestà, located on the northern side of the square Piazza XX Settembre where there’s the neoclassical Theatre of Fortune. The entrance hall of Palazzo del Podesta leads to the Malatesta Court; the actual Malatesta Palace was erected between 1413-1421, and then underwent a major renovation in 1929. The interior rooms house the Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery. In the north-eastern corner of the walled city stands the Malatesta Stronghold, a strategic outpost built to defend the coast and used if necessary as a lighthouse to guide sailors. The last majour event linked to this fortress is the stay of Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1848 during his journey from the Romagna to Rome. Don’t miss the monumental Malatesta tombs, moved under their own wishes into the porch of the Church of San Francesco. Examples of the Renaissance times in Fano are the church and the loggia of San Michele, today desecrated; the church and cloister of San Paterniano; the church of Santa Maria Nuova and the building Palazzo Martinozzi. Of Baroque style the Chapel Nolfi, richly decorated; the Fountain of Fortune that stands on one side of the square Piazza XX Settembre, enriched by a charming bronze statue of the Goddess of Fortune; Palazzo Montevecchio, the largest of Fano’s patricians palaces in terms of size and grandeur; the Church of San Pietro in Valle located along Via Nolfi, one of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in Le Marche, richly decorated and adorned with a collection of paintings, now kept at the Civic Art Gallery.
Museums and art galleries
The Malatesta Palace houses the Museum and the Civic Art Gallery. The first one contains a collection of modern paintings (XIX and XX centuries), the original bronze of the statue of Fortune made for the fountain located in the main square, valuable small oil paintings, engravings and a coin collection that brings together Roman, Medieval and modern coins, including those from the Fano mint. Inside the Civic Art Gallery you can find many paintings dating from the XIV to the XX century, some of them belonging to religious buildings and a collection of ceramics from XV to XIX centuries. If books are your passion, you should visit the Bibblioteca Federiciana (library) in Via Castracane. So named after its founder, Abbot Domenico Federici, this building has a collection counting over two hundred thousand printed books, including atlases, rare volumes of the XVII and XVIII centuries even in foreign editions, letters and autographs of famous people like Leopardi, Verga, Garibaldi, D’Annunzio, as well as hundreds of theatrical and musical compositions. Take some extra time to admire its finely decorated halls and walls. When leaving the library, make a short stop at the Fano section of the State Archive which houses the precious Malatesta codes, a collection of scrolls and all the surviving official documents of the old Municipal Archive and of several other public and private archives.
A dip in the sea … the beaches
The port divides the long coast of Fano into two areas: to the east you find the beach of Sassonia (with stones) and to the west the sandy beach of Lido, both with public and well equipped private areas. When choosing the public beaches in the Sassonia, remember to bring a beach mat to feel more comfortable; as alternative you can hire a sun-bed at one of the nearby beach establishments! To the north and south, in the towns of Fosso Sejore, Metaurilia and Torrette you will find wide beaches and small bays, in an environment which is in good harmony with nature and thus perfect for small children also thanks to the height of water, which has a optimal safety level. If you’re travelling with your 4 legged-friends, in addition to free beaches where animal are often admitted, you could choose among several private beaches offering specific services… find out more in this article.
On summer evenings, the long road along the seashore gets full of people, from the happy hour time until early in the morning; in the Sassonia area instead, you will find many fish restaurants as well as pizzerias, offering great dinners for every budget! If you need any suggestion, just send me an email 😉 If you like parties and waterfront nightclubs, here in Fano you have plenty of choice!
For a romantic and relaxing walk or for some jogging in the morning, I truly recommend the panoramic walk of Lysippos, which links the Sassonia beach to the port of Fano. At the end of the walk – one of the longest one on the Adriatic coast being about 1 km long – there is a reproduction of the statue of Lysippos. Of course, there are many sports to practice in the area and if you love thrills, you can enjoy the view of the coast and city from above by parachute, thanks to the School of parachuting located in the premises of Fano airport.
Take part in the many events, find out where and when!
There are lots of funny and exciting events organised in the city of Fano and they will certainly please the whole family! Let’s start with the Carnival, the oldest and sweetest in the world, where sweets are the real protagonists, in addition to masks and 16 metres high floats: tons of sweets and chocolates are literally thrown into the crowd. The parade takes place along Viale Gramsci until late afternoon, with an unmissable show of colours and lights. The Carnival also has its summer version, which takes place just at few metres from the sea along Viale Adriatico, usually around the first week of August. During summertime you won’t have a night off! Season normally begins with the festival Fano Jazz by the Sea, a leading national jazz event, taking place from mid-July until early August in various areas of the city, from the Amphitheatre Rastatt, right in front of the Adriatic sea, to the theatre and squares of the old town. Around the end of July, it’s the time for Fano of the Caesars, with parades in historical clothing, reconstruction of Roman camps, workshops for children and the chariot race, the highlight of the event. The celebrations continue until late at night along the streets of the old town and along the coast. Throughout the summer, the seafront is enriched with evening streets markets and enlivened by concerts and touring shows. To round off the summer, you can’t miss the Festival of Brodetto in the Lido area by the month of September: food stands serving fresh seafood cooked according to best local recipes, such as the famous brodetto which is a soup typical of Fano, along with other quality products from all over Italy. Cooking shows, concerts and entertainment enrich this culinary event. On the second Sunday of every month through the streets of the historic centre takes place the Antique Fair so much appreciated by its audience: exhibitors of furnishings, ceramics, silver, jewellery, laces, sacred and profane objects. At the Theatre of Fortune you will always find interesting shows and performances by famous people; check out the official website: http://www.teatrodellafortuna.it/
Everyone at the table … let’s eat!
If seafood is your favourite dish, Fano will know how to please you: there are many fish specialities, cooked according to tradition or reviewed with curious combinations, then served with the gentle but distinctive wine Bianchello del Metauro. Among the traditional meals to be ordered at the restaurant, the classic rustita – grilled breaded fresh fish, the brodetto (soup) of Fano and the anchovy omelet. Entering one of the many bars of Fano for a simple coffee after lunch, you’ll inevitably meet the popular local drink called Moretta. Its ingredients are rum, cognac and anise with sugar, espresso and lemon zest, everything served in the classic glass cup, so the three distinct layers are much evident. For local people and not only, Moretta is now a real ritual that you can also have at home, since this mixture is sold in bars and local shops selling typical products. The wines of the hills of Fano and Pesaro-Urbino province are highly valued and have the following AOC: Bianchello del Metauro, Colli Pesaresi Rosso or Focara, Colli Pesaresi Bianco or Roncaglia and the Novello dei Colli Pesaresi. You just need to choose one of the many café & wine bars of the old town and start trying!
To enjoy your stay in Le Marche and experience local habits and traditions of this territory, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
Are you ready to leave?
Villa Alis – Fano (PU)
Villa Monica – San Costanzo (PU)
Casale della Rovere – Mondavio (PU)